India's two busiest airports - Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport and Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport - will see flight delays and cancellations in the peak winter season due to closure of runways for maintenance work. The disruption may also lead to rise in airfares.
According to Livemint, more than 250 flights per day are expected to be affected at Mumbai airport when both its runways will remain closed for six hours for maintenance work on 23 October and on every alternate day from 7 February and 30 March 2019. The GVK-run airport sees about 46 arrivals and departures per hour.
One out of three runways at Delhi International Airport (DIAL) will remain closed for maintenance work every day from November 15 and November 27. The is likely to affect operations of hundred flights on a daily basis.
"DIAL is planning the closure of Runway (number) 27/09 to carry out preventive repairs. The works are scheduled to be undertaken for a 13-day duration starting from 15 November 2018," a DIAL spokesperson told the daily.
"This will lower the capacity of IGI (Indira Gandhi International) Airport by 50 arrivals and 50 departures every day in this duration. The work is essential for safe aircraft operations and to avoid sudden disruptions that cause greater impact because of the time required for planning the logistics," the spokesperson added.
The maintenance work at the Mumbai airport will be carried out at the intersection of the runways, leading to the closure of both runways.
"We have already informed the airlines months in advance about the situation and have encouraged them to bring in wide body aircraft (so that they have enough capacity)," said a CSIA spokesperson.
To minimise the impact due to closure of runways, Air India is looking ramp up capacity by adding more wide body aircraft. However, this may not be feasible for shorter routes where small planes are generally used.